TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Democratic candidate for Florida governor Andrew Gillum isn’t a big fan of President Donald Trump, but he said during a debate Sunday night that he’d gladly work with the president to bring money to the state for needed projects.
“That’s just not the way it works,” said Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, who won the nomination based on Trump’s endorsement.
It was one in a series of testy exchanges during the first debate between Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, and DeSantis, who resigned his seat in the U.S. House to focus on the governor’s race.
The two scuffled on the economy, race, and, of course, Trump, who came up when moderator Jake Tapper asked DeSantis if he thought Trump was a good role model for children. The question was based in part on a DeSantis primary ad featuring one of his children stacking toy blocks as DeSantis exclaimed, “Build the wall!”
DeSantis responded by saying he thought Trump did the right thing by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“I know Andrew didn’t support that and doesn’t think that’s right,” DeSantis said.
Gillum looked at Tapper and said, “I’m confused by the question.”
“The question was whether or not he thinks President Trump is a good role model for the children of Florida,” Tapper said.
“That’s what I thought,” Gillum said, drawing laughter from the audience. “No, he’s not. Donald Trump is weak, and he performs as all weak people do. They become bullies, and Mr. DeSantis is his acolyte. He’s trying out to be the Trump apprentice. At every turn he’s tweeting him.”
That’s when Gillum said that despite his disgust for Trump’s behavior, he wouldn’t turn down help from the president if it helped Florida.